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Automated email marketing drip campaigns can be very effective if they’re well-planned and meticulously built to ensure the right people get the right messages at the right times.
Notice all those rights?
Said another way, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with email marketing automation, so it’s important to understand the pros and cons before you dive in.
What are Automated Drip Email Marketing Campaigns?
Automated drip email marketing campaigns are set up in an email marketing software to be sent automatically based on specific trigger events. Triggers are most often behavior-based, such as:
- Clicking (or not clicking) on a link in an email campaign
- Opening (or not opening) an email message
- Filling an online shopping cart but abandoning it without buying
- Subscribing to a company’s email marketing list
- Downloading an ebook or another freebie
- Registering for a webinar
- And more
Triggers could also be date-based, such as:
- Anniversary of when someone subscribed to a company’s email marketing list
- Anniversary of when a customer made their first purchase
- Subscriber’s birthday
- Leading up to a webinar or event (e.g., one week before, one day before, one hour before)
- And more
When someone on your email list exhibits the trigger behavior or the date-based trigger arrives, an email message (or a series of messages) that you write and set up in advance is automatically sent to them.
Pros of Automated Drip Email Marketing Campaigns
Automated email marketing can help you in a variety of ways, including saving time, reclaiming potential lost revenue, seizing opportunities, nurturing relationships, improving brand relationships, and enhancing customer experiences.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the top benefits of automated drip campaigns.
Saves Time Later
When you set up an automated email drip campaign, messages will be sent automatically based on the criteria you set with no manual intervention from you in the future. That means you set it up once and you’re done.
Keeps Your Brand Top-of-Mind with No Effort Later
Email marketing is a long-term marketing strategy. To be successful, you need to nurture leads through the marketing funnel and ensure your brand is the one people think of when they’re ready to buy. With drip campaigns, you can efficiently keep your brand top-of-mind.
Helps You Seize Timely Opportunities
Automation allows you to reclaim lost revenue (e.g., abandoned shopping carts). It also helps you seize opportunities (e.g., someone who opened your discount email campaign but didn’t click on the link inside to get the offer).
For example, imagine you sent an email campaign with a discount offer to your list, and after 48 hours, many people opened the message but still didn’t click the link inside to use the discount. You could have set up a drip campaign in advance that would have automatically sent a second message to those people reminding them to use the discount before it expires.
Cons of Automated Drip Email Marketing Campaigns
Like the sound of email marketing automation? Make sure you understand the disadvantages that come with automation before you get started.
Some of the most important things to consider are introduced below.
Significant Up-Front Time Investment
Every automated email marketing campaign must be strategized and set up properly for it to work correctly. That can take a lot of time depending on how sophisticated your campaign is and how experienced you are in configuring email marketing automation processes.
One Size Does Not Fit All
What you say in your automated email marketing messages takes some planning because the same message may not work for everyone who displays a specific behavior that triggers an automated campaign. Irrelevant messages could motivate people to flag your messages as spam, and you don’t want that to happen because it could hurt your email deliverability in the future!
People Don’t Like Being Tracked
No one likes to be tracked online, and that is especially true if they didn’t opt in to get email messages from you. It’s one thing to get a message from a company you didn’t ask for, but it’s another to get messages from a company based on your behaviors. For many people, this type of tracking is creepy, and you don’t want people to think your business is creepy. With that said, be careful about what you automate.
Ongoing Maintenance is Required
When you think of automation, you probably think you set something up once and you never have to think about it again. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. For email drip campaigns, you need to monitor your triggers, lists, and processes on an ongoing basis to ensure nothing breaks and everything is working as it should be.
Automation Rarely Works Perfectly
Set every team member’s expectations in advance – email marketing automation rarely works perfectly. You can practically guarantee that someone will receive an automated message that they shouldn’t have gotten. Best case scenario, they’ll be slightly annoyed. Worst case scenario, they’ll complain publicly, mark your message as spam, never buy from you again, and damage your brand reputation. Again, it’s incredibly important that you fully strategize and monitor your automated campaign processes as well as the content you send in your automated messages.
Key Takeaways about Automated Drip Email Marketing Campaigns
Email automation can be an important part of your email marketing plan, but you need to have a solid strategy and make sure everything is set up as perfectly as possible for it to work well. One wrong email message can destroy a customer relationship, and people are very quick to jump on social media and review sites to discuss their grievances about companies that send them email marketing messages they don’t want. Just as bad, they’re quick to click the spam button, which can hurt your email deliverability in the future. You don’t want that to happen!
Finally, consider who you’re communicating with before you set up any automated email marketing campaigns. For example, while it is legal to email people who didn’t subscribe to your email marketing list, it’s never a good idea to track them and send automated email marketing messages to them. Remember that creepy thing discussed above?
Think of it this way. Email automation for your warm lead, opt-in email marketing list? Yes. Email automation for a cold lead email marketing list? No.